Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Update on Joey

On Friday, I wrote about our 15 year old cousin Joey who started a Facebook group (Equality project) to speak out against discrimination and bullying.

I've passed along all your comments to my post, and he is incredibly grateful and appreciative - as am I.

On Friday morning, there were 660 members. It's Monday night, and it has doubled ... to 1,226 and more, every time I hit refresh. The rippling viral effect is truly amazing to watch. Literally, I can sit and hit refresh on the group and watch the numbers go up in awe.

He is scheduled to be interviewed on our local news tomorrow evening, plans are in the works for another chat with another news station, and ... he received an email reply from an Oprah producer, saying "the group is remarkable and we will keep it in mind if there are any more shows on bullying."

It is all very exciting stuff. We are very proud.

And, it must be said, more than a little worried.

1,233 members now ...

Because as fervently as Joey believes in his cause, there are others who believe otherwise, with equal (or more) passion. By going public, by being a leader, he's inviting the crazies to take notice. As one of Joey's friends wrote, "the greatest leaders draw in the worst enemies."

It's an interesting balance, this concoction of pride mixed with apprehension. Of waiting for some troll to say something offensive.

1,240 members ...

Of wanting him not to get hurt. Or worse.

I wonder, what is that quality, that elusive elixir, that allows some people to take the hurt they have endured and transform it into something that is so refreshingly good ...

1,243 ...

... and that makes others do exactly the opposite?

1,248 ....

As his numbers increase, I would be lying if I said my apprehension wasn't rising as well. For Joey. For his parents, for his sister, for our family.

For I am too jaded, way past idealistic, complacent in many ways and for many reasons. I have seen too many headlines, I have Melissa Etheridge's song "Scarecrow" ringing in my ears and images burnished in my mind of another boy.

1,266.

I am counting.


photo taken by me on 1/23/2010 of a tiled mosaic fountain at Longwood Gardens.

copyright 2010, Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy, The Betty and Boo Chronicles) If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

Melissa-
WOW! Your Joey is soooo brave. Bullying in any other setting outside of a school would be considered criminal. Inside a school should be no different. It is NOT normal childlike behavior-it is criminal and those who perpetrate it should be appropriately punished. I am heading over now.
You tell that Joey-YOU GO BOY. You are a brave soul who is the voice for so many.
xo